PEORIA, Ariz. -- After missing much of the 2012 season, Padres Minor League outfielder Jaff Decker got what he wanted from his taste of big league camp this spring.
He got to play -- a lot. In fact, Decker, who on Friday was optioned to Minor League camp, led the team with 40 at-bats. He hit .175 with one home run and five RBIs but had played better of late.
On Thursday against the Netherlands, he hit a home run and had a double. But those hits didn't count toward Cactus League stats, not that Decker cared.
"It went really well," Decker said of his time in big league camp. "I wish I could forget about the first week. But then things started to click."
Decker, 23, hit a combined .201 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 56 games last season, but he missed much of the season after tearing the plantar tendon in his left foot.
Decker, who will likely begin the season at Triple-A Tucson, said that he's better off for his month in big league camp.
"I worked a lot with [hitting coach Phil Plantier]. ... I had some bad habits, but I was able to stay through the ball and use my hands," Decker said.
And unlike 2012, Decker can find solace in his good health. His foot feels fine and he's looking forward to having a big season.
"Waking up in the morning, I don't have to worry about whether [my foot] feels good or not," Decker said.
Cashner sharp in first extended spring outing
PEORIA, Ariz. -- In his first prolonged outing of the spring, Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner allowed one run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings in an 8-7 victory over the Dodgers on Friday.
"I felt good, I felt like the ball was coming out well," Cashner said. "I felt my timing was a little bit off in the second inning. Overall, I thought today was a good day."
Cashner, who was clocked at 96, 96 and 97 mph on the first three pitches he threw, allowed one walk and struck out two. He threw 35 pitches, 23 for strikes.
The question now becomes: Can he build up his pitch count, stamina and endurance quick enough to begin the season as the Padres' No. 5 starter?
"I think it will be close," he said.
Cashner came to camp slightly behind the rest of his teammates after having surgery in December to repair a lacerated tendon in his right thumb.
This was his second appearance in a Cactus League game this spring. Cashner tossed one scoreless inning against the Cubs on March 10.
"I thought Cash was good, I thought he had good tempo to his delivery," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He threw some good fastballs in some good spots.
"He got up and down three times. This is more like what a starter needs to do in Spring Training."
The other candidates in camp for the No. 5 spot in the rotation are Freddy Garcia, Anthony Bass, Tim Stauffer and Tyson Ross.
"These things have a way of working themselves out," Black said.
It's conceivable that Cashner could get three more starts in Cactus League play before the regular season begins. He'll likely throw in upwards of 50 or so pitches in his next appearance.
"I definitely need some work on my offspeed stuff," Cashner said. "I located down and away. Offspeed and breaking ball were below average. I threw some good changeups and some bad ones."
Quentin remains hopeful for Opening Day
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres left fielder Carlos Quentin still hasn't officially appeared in a Cactus League game, as the two plate appearances he got in a March 8 game against the White Sox were washed away by rain.
Quentin aggravated his surgically repaired right knee on Monday and hasn't been in the lineup, though manager Bud Black said he was doing "OK."
"I'm doing all right, working through some stuff," Quentin said. "I feel like I'm getting closer. I'm looking forward to that."
Is there a chance Quentin might not be ready for Opening Day on April 1 in New York?
"At this point, no," Black said.
After Friday's split-squad games, the Padres have 13 games remaining in Arizona and two more against the Rangers in San Antonio, Texas. The team then heads to New York to face the Mets.
Black had previously said he thought Quentin could get between 40-60 at-bats in games this spring, though at this point, that doesn't appear possible.
"You want players to be able to progress to get ready for Opening Day," Black said. "Carlos' road to Opening Day has been a little bit variable. There's still time for him to get up to speed by April 1 to feel good about it physically and mentally.
"Carlos will be the first to tell you that if he had his druthers, he'd be playing right now."